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TW: Suspicious behavior/animal abuse

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TW: Suspicious behavior/animal abuse


TW: Suspicious behavior/animal abuse

I went round to pick up my kids for the weekend (Son - 17 Daughter - 12) from my ex-wife. When I got there my ex was holding my daughters pet rat. She said it was acting hurt so they took it to the vet earlier in the day. Upon examination you could clearly see, the rat was injured.  They’ve had it 2 years, in the same cage kept in the same place. My ex says she hasn’t a clue how it could have happened. I said “ there can only be 1 logical explanation”. I mean the rat didn’t burn itself. 
I was quite disturbed by this but continued loading my kids stuff in the car then waited in the car for them. Instead, my ex came out saying my son doesn’t want to go with me because “ he thinks you’re accusing him of hurting the rat”. I told her “ I kinda was. Who else would do that?” When I went back in the house to say let’s go, my son said he’s not going. He said he was busy. I told him the usual - “ come on, I want to spend time with you” etc. he then suddenly, for the first time ever, raised his fists and tried punching me in the face. I tried to protect myself, his mom tried to get between us, we ended up on the floor with him kicking me and everyone’s screaming, my daughter is crying hysterically. I got up. Took their stuff out of my car and left.
I am so disturbed by all this and don’t know what to do. My son hasn’t hurt an animal (that I know of) before but of all the people in that house (him, his sister, mom and grandma), he is the most likely. My ex thinks it ‘just happened’ which is logically impossible. She’s in complete denial.
My son has been a big headache since he was about 5.
There’s so much more about his past that I could write forever. But based on this, I’d live some opinions, advice, anything. I’m desperate. A 17 year old torturing a animal is not likely to lead anywhere good. Thank you 🙏🏼

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Re: TW: Suspicious behavior/animal abuse

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Hi @UK123 , 


Welcome to our parent's forums. I can imagine that it must have felt very confronting  and disturbing to think that your son may have been responsible for injuring an animal, and the whole day sounds like it would have been upsetting and frightening for everyone involved.  It's great that you've opened up about what happened here.  I also just wanted to let you know that I edited a few details from your post.  


It does sound like your son could benefit from some support,  you mention he's been a handful since he was 5- has he ever seen a counsellor or other mental health professional before? If he's still at school, a school counsellor could be a good place to start,  do you think he would be open to talking to someone about how he's been feeling? If he was responsible for what happened to your daughter's pet, there's a number of things that could be behind that, and a professional could help to unpack what is happening for him. 


I'm just wondering if you've been able to talk to your ex-wife any more about your concerns? 


I can imagine that this must be an incredibly tough situation to be in as a parent - do you think it would be helpful for you to chat to someone to help support you? It looks like you're in the USA - we are an Australian service, but I did come across this free helpline for parents in the USA at National Parent Helpline. 

This is also a safe, anonymous space with a lot of really supportive parents, so feel free to come here any time you need to vent.